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No. 9 Texas Tech looks to pass on Big 12 lessons to TCU


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Life on the road is not easy in the Big 12 these days.

The top four teams in the league got jolting reminders of that in their most recent road outings, including ninth-ranked Texas Tech. Now, the Red Raiders are hoping to give visiting TCU a similar bitter taste the road Saturday when the teams meet at Lubbock, Texas.

The Red Raiders (18-6, 7-4 Big 12) tangle with the Horned Frogs (16-5, 5-4) in a game that gained some weight with results earlier in the week.

Playing at home Tuesday, TCU staved off a furious Oklahoma State rally for a 77-73 victory that left the Horned Frogs in the upper half of the 10-team standings halfway through their league schedule.

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The next night, Texas Tech absorbed a 70-55 road loss to Oklahoma, which dropped the Raiders into a tie with Texas for third place, just one full game ahead of TCU.

Magnifying TCU’s win over Oklahoma State is that it came without leading scorer Mike Miles, who has been out with a wrist injury.

“We’re reinventing ourselves once again,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said after his team persevered despite frittering away most of a 13-point second-half advantage. “But we did it and did what we wanted to do. We got the ball inside, that was our emphasis from the other day, and we guarded better early.

“I thought we faded at the end, but I don’t know if it was fatigue because we’re obviously playing guys way too many minutes. But that’s the situation we’re put in. We fought through it, and we had some great performances.”

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So did Oklahoma, and the Red Raiders didn’t have enough answers.

Texas Tech surrendered a 13-of-28 shooting night from outside the 3-point arc, which matched the most makes from distance the Red Raiders have permitted this season. Sooners guard Umoja Gibson did the most damage, connecting on 8-of-11 from deep as Oklahoma outscored Texas Tech 45-25 in the second half.

“The second half, we tried to deny him the ball some, but other guys started scoring and that weakened our defense,” Red Raiders’ coach Mark Adams said. “We got behind so much, we had to throw that game plan out the window and try to guard. We were chasing them the whole second half, and that’s not the way we like to play.”

The Texas Tech offensive schemes weren’t clicking, either.

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Thrust into comeback mode, the Red Raiders got out of sync when they had the ball and forced shots. Texas Tech knocked down only 10 of 29 field goals over the final 20 minutes and missed nine of 10 from 3-point range.

Tech guard Terrance Shannon said the Raiders let the ball “stick a little bit” on offense.

“We’ve got to do a better job of moving it,” Shannon said, “attacking more under control and lower our turnovers.”

That’s especially true if TCU gets Miles back on Saturday. He leads the Horned Frogs with 15.4 points a game (fifth in the Big 12) and 4.2 assists (fourth in the Big 12), so his return would add back a welcome element for a team fighting to solidify its NCAA Tournament hopes.

–Field Level Media

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